Losing weight is not easy. You will never hear me say that it is. It takes dedication, motivation and hard work. But by making a few easy changes you can get the ball rolling on weight loss. Try following these steps … You may find it’s a little easier than you think!
Change one: what you eat
First, let’s take a look at some simple ways to make significant improvements in your diet.
1. Eliminate or significantly reduce red meat
- If foods like burgers are basic in your current diet, cutting out red meat can go a long way towards helping you make healthier meal choices and lose weight.
- By building your meals around fish and poultry, you can more easily keep temptations at bay. You’ll soon find yourself wanting to eliminate those poor fast food and restaurant choices, which are over-sized and high in fat.
- To keep your shellfish, fish, chicken and turkey diet-friendly, be sure to choose the right preparation method (see #2).
- Be wary of creamy, high-cal condiments that come with entrees, like tartar or special sauce that are often serves with fish and poultry.
2. Cut out fried foods
- Keep your healthy choices truly healthy by grilling, baking, roasting, broiling or boiling your foods.
- Keep things interesting by adding low-cal condiments to your usual fare. A tangy barbecue sauce will give boiled chicken a kick. Lemon-herb dressing will complement broiled fish deliciously.
- Make sure your spice rack is always stocked with plenty of herbs and spices so you can doctor up your favorite dishes to your own taste without adding any additional fat or calories. Plant an herb garden and you’ll never run out!
- If you often eat fast food, forget that value meals and combos even exist; they seem like a better deal, but they’re just not worth the extra calories! Stick to a grilled chicken sandwich or a child’s hamburger with a side salad (but watch the dressing!) When you’re on the run.
3. Start with soup or salad.
- Having a salad or cup of soup for a starter can be an at-home habit that pays off in pounds-lost. These appetizers can curb your hunger, prevent over-eating, and help you stay in control of your portions; all of which are crucial to losing weight.
- Choose a broth or tomato-based soup like minestrone (rather than a cream or milk-based stew). Vegetable soup made with broth, stock or tomato is ideal, because the veggies will help fill you up, and give you a fiber and nutrition boost.
- Top your salad with low-cal dressing or balsamic vinegar. An added plus of having a salad before every meal is getting more fiber, something many of our diets are short on, which will also help you feel fuller sooner. Be sure to include lots of veggies and dark mixed greens like spinach in your salads.
4. Finish with fruit.
- Instead of reaching for the cookie jar or helping yourself to dessert after meals, make a point to finish off with naturally sweet fruit instead of sinfully sweet treats.
- Not only will you save fat and calories, you will also have the added benefit of extra vitamins, minerals and fiber. Few of us eat as much fruit as recommended.
- In time, you will become accustomed to foregoing sweets, and you’ll look forward to your healthier treat just as much.
Change two: what you drink
Sometimes it’s easy to focus so much on what we eat, that we forget to include what we drink in our diet analysis. That can be a big problem, because the number of liquid calories you can consume without even realizing is quite astounding.
1. Put the kibosh on cola consumption.
- If you drink regular soda, you may be surprised at just how many additional calories you’re taking in. For example, for every 20 ounces of coca-cola you drink, you’re consuming 250 calories. Drink several glasses a day and you can easily down 1,000 liquid calories.if you’re attempting to consume around 1,500 to 1,600 calories a day in order to lose weight, you’ve almost blown your entire calorie budget on soda!
- When you think about how many calories you eat on average and then add in those empty calories, you’ll realize what a waste drinking these sugary drinks is — literally — they go straight to your waist!
- If you drink a lot of soda, think of how many calories you’ll be saving if you trade it in for diet soda or water. Hundreds? Even thousands? Remember, every 3,500 calories saved equals one pound lost!
2. Drink up that h20!
- I know i sound like a broken record, but it really is important to drink enough water every day. Reach for the rule-of-thumb goal of eight glasses per day.
- Plus, drinking water more often will help you with tip #1 . You won’t have time to drink soda! You may even find you crave water instead of soda once you begin drinking it more often.
- Try going a day or two with no soda and then sit down to a glass; you’ll probably be shocked at how overly sweet it tastes.
3. Diet drink dilemma
- Switching to diet soda may sound like a surefire way to lose weight since they’re virtually calorie-free. However, there is a controversial issue about artificial sweeteners’ indirect effect on weight loss that might surprise you.
- In the mid-1980′s — when the safety of artificial sweeteners was often headline news — a study was published in a medical journal that suggested artificial sweeteners cause one’s appetite to increase.
- More recently, some health experts have suggested that artificial sweeteners actually cause cravings for sweet foods to increase. If so, this reaction definitely sets you up for making poor food choices. This can lead to a big problem, particularly if you tend to binge when you eat high-carb and sugar-rich foods.
4. Stick to mineral water
- This may go without saying, but they don’t call it a beer belly for nothing. Alcoholic beverages are high-calorie and can lead to out-of-control eating. Try to cut down — or better still, eliminate — alcohol.
Change three: what you do
Next up are some behavior modifications that will help you get — and stay — focused on losing weight and taking care of yourself.
1. Keep a food diary.
- There is no better tool for weight management. Keeping a food journal consistently will show you your trouble areas, the foods that get you started on a binge, the worst times of day, etc.
- I’d suggest you keep a detailed food diary for at least two weeks to accurately reflect your habits.
2. Learn about nutrition.
- Learn all you can about nutrition online, through books, or by taking a nutrition class at your local community college.
3. Get a handle on emotional eating.
- If you feel you have issues with emotional eating, you may want to track your feelings in your food diary, too.
- You should record how you feel before, during, and after eating. Periodically check over your entries to see what cues set you off to binge most often.
- If you discover frequent binges or you can’t seem to cope with stress or sadness without eating, you’re an emotional eater. Don’t hesitate to make an appointment with a qualified therapist or clinical social worker. Cognitive behavior therapy is extremely effective in treating over-eating due to emotions.
4. Get moving!
- We’re not talking about chugging your way through a one hour aerobics class right away, here. Simply get outside and take a brisk walk for 10 minute every other day. That’s all you have to do right now.
- Remember, any activity is better than no activity. When you feel more comfortable, add 10 minute increments and/or walk more often.